Take Action: Support Effort to Keep Same-Sex Partners From Being Deported Under DOMA

It's been about six weeks since the Obama administration announced that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. "Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA," Attorney General Eric Holder said when announcing the shift in late February. "The Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional. Congress has repealed the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Several lower courts have ruled DOMA itself to be unconstitutional." Although the law will continue to be enforced until the courts make a final decision about its constitutionality or Congress repeals section 3 (the section that Obama considers unconstitutional), the move was seen as a significant step forward in the fight for same-sex marriage rights.

While DOMA is being debated, same-sex bi-national couples continue to face a terrible predicament: even though many couples have been legally married in states that allow same-sex marriage, they are being torn apart when their green cards are denied by the federal government (under DOMA). As such, many individuals in same-sex marriages face deportation, which would tear them away from their spouses.

This week, a dozen senators, including Sen. John Kerry, took action on the matter. Raw Story:

[The senators] sent a letter (.pdf) to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice Wednesday asking them to hold applications in abeyance instead of rejecting them while the courts litigate the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)....

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said last week that it would accept green card applications from gays and lesbians with spouses from abroad.

But after only one day, the USCIS reversed itself, saying it would continue to deny applications, in spite of the Obama administration's decision last month that it would no longer defend the DOMA in court.

Global LGBT rights group All Out has launched a petition targeting Department of Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano. "Please act now and declare a moratorium on these family-destroying deportations caused by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), until the current legal battle over national marriage equality is resolved," the petition reads. Sign it here.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at April 8, 2011, 7:21am

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